This is the start of the Thunderbird garden at Windsong. The Mandala, Thunderbird, and Horseshoe sunken gardens, are based on themes in Gaia’s Garden and other permaculture publications which are based on dryland style farming techniques that go back thousands of years. The Idea is to catch the water in the basins and infiltrate it into the soils while at the same time protecting the plants from the wind.
The shape offers plenty of edge and efficient use of space. All parts of the gardens can be reached from the paths and key ways.
First the shapes were laid out with stones By Amy according to her plans and sketches then dug out with the filtered stones from the soil laid around the edges to reinforce the borders. Compost, straw, and filtered soil were then layered into the depressions covered with straw.
The gardens were then planted with Corn Beans and Squash, the three sisters, in the Thunderbird and, Tomatoes, Tomatillo, Peppers and Cucumbers in the Mandala. Now with the monsoon rains here they need minimal watering.
The paths were formed with adobe soil mix and straw watered and packed into a kind of cob floor path, that will be covered in 1/4 minus gravel and fines in patterns such as what you see on a couple of the key ways in the Thunderbird gardens. The idea is that the pathways shed their water into the gardens effectively increasing the rain fall each garden gets.